consists primarily of tracks written by other bands. As the story goes -- color us skeptical -- they all invited O'Connor to add her distinct vocal stylings to the mix. She proceeded to let most of them down. Despite featuring everything from R&B to '80s easy listening to trip-hop, and drawing upon the talents of such notable collaborators as Massive Attack, Moby and Bono, Collaborations
sorely lacks the memorable vocal performances you'd expect from the woman who gave the world "Nothing Compares 2 U". (Editor's Note: Technically, Prince gave the world "Nothing Compares 2 U". O'Connor merely recorded the definitive version.
The disc's early material is easily the most interesting. While Massive Attack's "Special Cases" is a pretty uninspiring trip-hop nugget, Asian Dub Foundation's "1000 Mirrors" sports a solid melody and bumping bass groove, as well as a catchy, ethereal lead guitar line. Bomb The Bass's "Empire", with its political slant and dulcet vocal melody, is the best of Collaborations's 17 cuts. During the refrain, O'Connor's two vocal lines are an octave apart from each other, one panned all the way to left and the other all the way to the right. She sings "Vampire, you're feed on the blood of a pure heart / Vampire, you suck the life of goodness / From now on I'll call you England," and it'll make you shiver.
O'Connor's lack of subtlety eventually grows tiring. After the beautiful but ephemeral new-agey Rhodes and Piano part at its outset, "Wake Up and Make Love To Me" becomes a bizarre, funky porno-pop jingle with ample wah guitar and surprisingly blunt lyrics. "You come awake with a gift for woman-kind," Sinéad sings. "I'm still asleep / But the gift don't seem to mind / Rising to this occasion / Half-way up my back / Sliding down my body / Touching my behind." For better or worse, listeners won't have much trouble deciding how they feel about that. "Kingdom of Rain" furthers the sexy vibe. This time around, O'Connor's counterpart is The The's Matt Johnson, whose coarse stylings feel hollow here. In O'Connor's duet with Bono, "I'm Not Your Baby", their bizarrely processed vocals practically disappear behind the drums.
O'Connor still has a powerful voice, but most of these 17 tracks lack the sheer spectacle required to recapture her fans' waning attention. Been wondering why you haven't thought about her in years? Collaborations has your answer.